It’s funny. For most of my life I didn’t think of myself as being particularly crunchy. Until age 20, at least, I was your typical American girl. The only thing granola about me was my penchant for atrocious peasant shirts in middle school. But then you wake up one day and realize you’re the girl that cooks straight out of the garden, drinks raw goats’ milk you milked yourself, gets acupuncture treatments, and obsessively uses essential oils.
So here I am, the raw goats milk essential oils farm girl. Good grief, how did I get here? I promise I wasn’t always this weird. Like most other people who get super granola, I never planned to get this crunchy. In fact, 10 years ago I would have thought it was pretty dumb. But 10 years ago I hadn’t experienced chronic health problems yet. And there’s nothing like chronic pain to change your mind…
My Uncrunchy Past
I grew up eating home cooked standard American diet meals. I spent so much time at urgent care as a kid that the staff knew me by name and nicknamed me “the Strep magnet” when offering me round amillion of antibiotics. I spent most of college surviving on Cinnamon Toast Crunch, coffee, stress, and Bagel Bites.
Oh hey, college. I can’t even get over how college this photo is. Don’t you just wanna yell, “You’re not as cool as you think you are, college Stewarts!!!” Just me? Ok, moving on.
And that’s when it all started to take it’s toll and a chronic illness, Interstitial Cystitis also called Painful Bladder Syndrome (doesn’t that sound fun?!), popped up for the first time and kept me pretty miserable for over four years.
And that’s when I first started to go natural. When you go to several doctors and they can’t do anything to help make you well, you either have to stay sick or take charge of your own health. Because my disease is really just a grouping of symptoms (inflammation, pain, etc) with no known cause (kind of like fibromyalgia is), Western medicine can’t do much for me. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not against Western medicine! Western medicine is fantastic at a lot of things and I’m grateful for it. But it can’t do much to treat my disease.
So after four years of feeling awful, I started to change my diet. I got the supplements I needed to help my body get well and in weeks I noticed a difference and in months I went into remission. That was step one into becoming crazy goats milk girl.
We didn’t become weirdos overnight. No sir! It takes years to get like this. And when my illness flared up again with a vengeance spring of 2015 in the midst of selling our house and moving our family across the country for a huge career change (hello, stress) I was pretty devastated to be dealing with it again. But, I knew so much more about healthy living than I did 10 years ago. I didn’t have to wait for four years to start getting better, I had a few steps of crunchiness under my belt to speed up the process.
We’d already incorporated more veggies and proteins into our meals and taken out lots of the grains. And due to our son’s gluten allergy, we cook our meals gluten-free. I had gradually tossed my toxic cleaning products and switched to natural cleaners and essential oils. I’d already taken some of the steps toward health.
But it has been a rough few months. It’s been since Easter 2015 that I’ve felt 100% normal. And I’ve spent a lot of time crying in frustration that the stupid symptoms are back.
But after we got settled on the farm in September 2015 , I started to get better. Eating a good real food diet and some other important health changes made a huge different.
Then I Leveled Up the Crunch…
That October things plateaued. I was still in pain, exhausted, and feeling crummy. And I felt overwhelmed after all the research I was doing that oven gave contradictory advice. (Don’t eat fruit! Eat only fruit! Take THIS supplement! Take THAT supplement!)
So I found an acupuncturist in our new town that had been highly recommended to me by multiple friends. And that seems to be just what I was needing. I made so much progress after starting weekly treatments and now I only go twice a month and still feel great! I’m not in complete remission yet, but I’m really close.
The “Health Bucket”
My acupuncturist gave a great explanation that has helped me visualize my health. If you imagine a bucket and the water inside it to be different stressors to the body: foods you’re intolerant to, toxins, stress, lack of sleep, etc. then when the bucket gets too full, it overflows and you start to experience symptoms. There are two ways to help. You can remove some of the water in the bucket (try to reduce stress, get more sleep, eat nourishing food, avoid environmental toxins) and you can also make your bucket bigger (acupuncture treatments, for example, are one way I am trying to make my “health” bucket bigger so that my body can handle a little bit more without me feeling crummy.)
So anyhow, that’s where I am in all of this. I kind of thought that once I was in remission before that I would never have those issues again, but I’m realizing that health is something I’m going to have to carefully prioritize for the rest of my life in order to feel well, free from pain, and energetic.
So I’m committed to taking charge of my health and fighting for it by educating myself. Because I don’t want my kids to have chronic illness! I don’t want them to have to deal with this. And since they have some allergies (and in the case of Benjamin, asthma) they’re already suffering from some autoimmune issues. (Although after a year on the farm drinking raw goat’s milk their eczema is now completely gone!)
I want them to have the best start they can and have a whole toolbox of knowledge about health that they can take with them when they go off to college or when they leave home.
But it’s a long process. 10 years ago I knew absolutely nothing crunchy. I was a “throw some antibiotics at me because I have a cold” kinda gal. And now Daniel calls me “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” because all the interns at the farm show up on our doorstep if they have sore throats or headaches and need some essential oils or home remedies. And nobody in our family has needed anything but a well check up in over a year! (Knocks on wood). I still have so much to learn, but it feels really good to be building my knowledge for my own health and the health of my family.
So that’s my story from uncrunchy to super granola. Any other Dr. Quinn’s out there?
Psst! If you’re interested in healthy living and don’t know where to start, or if you are already crunchy but want some new inspiration and great resources, Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle is here til Monday.
I didn’t contribute an ebook this year because I needed to work on my new book but I’m going to purchase the bundle myself for all the gluten-free resources, gut-health resources (there are ALL KINDS of recipe resources), and the more than $150 worth of BONUS freebies (I’m addicted to the Maca Powder since last year’s bundle).
Definitely take a look at what’s included if you want to improve your family’s health but need a push in the right direction. I’ll even sweeten the deal. If you order through my affiliate link, you can take your pick of any of my 4 ebooks and I’ll send it over as a thank you. You can choose from my liturgical year books: Feast! and More Feasts! as well as Daniel’s gluten-free breakfast cookbook and Making Big Life Changes Together–my book on pursuing your dreams while maintaining a healthy marriage. Just fill out this Google Doc with your email and which ebook you want so I know where to send the PDF! But remember the sale only lasts til Monday (and it’s 99% off, so you really don’t want to miss it!)
Disclosure: Links to the bundle sale are affiliate links which means that at no additional cost to you, a portion of the sales made through my links will benefit my family. Thank you so much for supporting Carrots!